Iraq to begin exporting wheat following surplus production

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — Iraq has achieved a significant milestone this year by attaining self-sufficiency in wheat production. The country is now exploring plans to export the surplus wheat, according to Haidar Karrawi, the General Director of the Grain Marketing Company, who spoke to the Iraqi News Agency on Saturday.

Haidar Karrawi announced that Iraq is expected to export its excess wheat this year, having achieved self-sufficiency with a production surplus exceeding 1,800,000 tons. The country’s wheat production has now surpassed its domestic needs.

“Iraq needs 6 million tons of wheat to ensure its domestic demand, with having more than 1,800,000 tons of surplus wheat that also surpassed Iraq’s wheat storage capacity. We are discussing export plans,” Haidar Karrawi told the Agency.

Last year, Iraq cultivated 5.2 million tons of wheat, a harvest that the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture considers a notable success.

The Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture previously stated that Iraq, with a population of 43 million people, annually necessitates between 4.5 million and 5 million tons of wheat.

Karrawi also stressed the importance of working together with milling factories to make use of surplus wheat for the production of low-grade flour, aiming to decrease dependence on imports.

According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, an international trade monitoring organization, Iraq was ranked 77th in terms of wheat exports, totaling $268,000 in 2022. However, during the same year, wheat imports amounted to over $286 million.

The allocation of 8,500 square kilometers of desert land by the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture, combined with a plentiful rainy season and purchasing wheat from farmers at a favorable rate, has propelled Iraq’s agricultural sector. This shift has led to self-sufficiency in wheat production, transforming Iraq from a wheat importer to an exporter.

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